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DA wants death penalty in baby death

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey heard more than 40 motions, including motions regarding a possible death penalty, yesterday morning in a capital murder case scheduled to begin trial in Franklin County Aug. 11.
"This one of the most important cases in Franklin County," District Attorney Joey Rushing told the court during the opening proceedings of the hearing.
Dempsey denied any motion ruling out a possible death sentence for Jody Wayne Waldrop, 29, of Red Bay, who is accused of killing his 3-week-old son in 2005.
During yesterday's proceeding, Dempsey heard motions ranging from suppression of evidence to how jurors are pooled for the jury selection process in preparations for the upcoming trial.
The majority of time was spent hearing testimony regarding Waldrop's first two statements.
Alabama Bureau of Investigations (ABI) Investigator Mark McCormick and Red Bay Police Investigator Lt. Eddie Chandler were questioned about Waldrop's state of mind during the questioning. The defense contended that Waldrop was under the influence at the time the statements were made.
"Based on my eight years as a highway patrolman, Waldrop did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol [at the time of either statement]," McCormick told the court.
Chandler concurred with McCormick, saying that Waldrop did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of questioning.
The defense also challenged that Waldrop did not understand his Miranda Rights even though he signed a standard waiver form provided by ABI.
McCormick and Chandler both said Waldrop was read his rights at the time both statements were taken, and freely signed the form without cohesion.
In addition to the statements, the defense challenged whether a conversation the defendant had with Chandler during his incarceration at Red Bay could be used in the trail proceedings.
According to witness testimony, Waldrop told Chandler that he had doubts about whether the victim and his other son were actually his biological children.
The defense contended that the questionable paternity of the child could be a possible motive for killing the child, and that Waldrop should have been made aware of his Miranda Rights at that time.
Chandler told the court that he did not immediately identify the conversation as providing a possible motive for the infant's murder.
"We were causally talking," Chandler told the court. "After he told me that he had doubts that the child was his, nothing else was said."
After all the testimony was heard, Dempsey ruled to deny the motions to suppress the first two statements given to authorities and the statement from Lt. Chandler.
The court will hear witnesses on the other evidence Monday at 8:30 a.m.